Saturday, August 8, 2009

Review: Seducing Mr. Darcy by Gwyn Cready

As an Austen fan, you'd think I would be less than entertained by a book that messes with the original plot (I've already copped to enjoying the myriad of sequels out there). But this book alters the original Pride and Prejudice so absurdly and entertainingly, that it can't help but be fun.

Flip Allison is an ornithologist with a penchant for steamy romance novels (the steamier the better). She's also burdened with a professionally jealous, Peter Pan of an ex-husband with whom she has to work. And he's the closest she's come to having a relationship in who knows how long. Enter the gorgeous Magnus Knightley, a visiting Jane Austen scholar, who might come in handy at Flip's book club meeting since they are reading Pride and Prejudice. Too bad he's a cold fish.

But Magnus becomes necessary to Flip after she has a massage that allows her to imagine herself into a book. Instead of the romance novel she was hoping to imagine, she plants herself very firmly in Pride and Prejudice and procedes to have a torrid and public liason with Mr. Darcy. All this would mean nothing other than it was the best and most relaxing massage of Flip's life if she didn't discover that she hadn't imagined the scene. Instead, her foray into the pages has changed Austen's most well-known work. And only with Magnus' help can Flip change it back to the way it should be.

The characters' antagonism towards each other belies the sexual tension between them as they race to restore Lizzie and Mr. Darcy to each other. Because of their combined goal, they come to realize the specialness of what they have together far sooner than in a typical romance and it is satisfying to watch as they must decide if they can sacrifice their passion for the good of a much-loved classic.

I found the book to be great fun, entertaining, and surprising. It definitely has its share of explicit scenes but they drive the plot of this terribly appealing farce. Is it high literature? No. But it is about as fun as it gets. And who among us wouldn't jump at the chance to spend some time in our favorite novels? This havoc-wreaking entertainment will appeal to romance readers and to genre-bending Austen fans who don't take themselves too seriously alike.


  1. Kristen,
    Have you read Jasper Fforde? He does a pretty funny book with a not dissimilar theme (major rework of an Austen novel). It's called the Eyre Affair.
    In fact I'm pretty sure you've read it. I think we've talked about it before? The book is overflowing with literary references and puns.

  2. I totally lurve Jasper Fforde. And yes, the climbing into books thing is something I fall for every time. ;-) A good children's book (wonder if it's too below Reid's reading level now?) is A Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley and it's not about climbing into a book but about a character becoming tired of always having to perform the same boring text. Quite entertaining.

  3. Also a fan of The Eyre Affair (and all its sequels) so maybe I'll try this one.

  4. I've seen this book, but I wasn't sure whether I'd want to read it. After reading your review, it sounds like a fun book. The cover makes it look like a cheesy romance novel, though. ;)

    Diary of an Eccentric

  5. Please don't be fooled by the review. This *is* very much a romance novel. But I do happen to like them as my break from more complex reading. So combining a over-the-top, madcap, steamy romance with my Austen obsession completely and totally works for me. But the cover is fairly indicative of the contents. :-)


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